The Formula For a Winning NHL Team

Steve TerryAnalyst IJuly 11, 2008

What exactly is the formula for a winning team? Is there some magical blueprint that you can follow to achieve a cup attender? Or is it just luck, pasting together a bunch players and hoping they are the right combination?

If you look at the teams who won the Stanley cup since the lockout, you can see that there is a familiarity in each of those teams. I don't want to credit Brian Burke for the 2007 Champion Duck team, but he did have the right formula. (although fortune graced his team with these willing occupants.)

1. The corner stone of every team is to first have a goaltender that can hold a lead and possibly steal a game from time to time. Having a goaltender that can be trusted to bail out the team from time to time, just boosts the confidence in a team to push on offense.

2. The second block to the team is a shut-it-down defence-man. His job is to build the confidence in goaltenders and improve the team stability. Often this defence-man kills the momentum of opposing teams. There is nothing more frustrating to an opposing team then the inability to create offensive rushes which cannot get through this defence-man.

3. The third block of this team is the puck-moving defence-man. He is often referred to as the Quarterback of hockey. He is the guy that can start rushes to the other end, or with a quick pass... send another team mate on a free pass into the opposing end. This defence-man shows confidence in his ability to create the change of momentum in a single second. His skating ability is probably the best on the team, because he always remembers to get back to his position... because he is first of all a defence-man.

4. The fourth block of the team can arguably be the first important block of the team. In the new NHL, the centre -man  is not the biggest factor on his team. He is very important for his ability to draw the puck in a time of crisis could change the entire game. Those big moments are often placed on the centre because he is either responsible for the loss of opportunity or the cause of an important gain. It is best if he is the one with the most ability an offense to carry the puck. He should be big because he may be called on to distract the whole opposing team by standing in the crease. He should be one of a leadership role because he sees the development of his whole team on defence and offense.

5. Not the least important factor in a team, but probably easiest position to fill is the Winger. He must be good on boards and speedy. His bursts of speed should create oppertunity from time to time to gain the lead for his team. He should be crafty and able to set up the big centre-man. It is important to have one winger big enough to be able to fill the role of standing in front of the net.

Once this first line is created, the formula is continued by mimicking this first line. The goal is clear... Try to make a replicate with less money. Each line should follow in its appropriate order. It is not as important to have a complete checking line in the new NHL, but to have one guy who is able to defend his teammates. This guy will be called on when something hits the fan.

This is the formula of the new NHL. All sizes of players have their important role now. With teams like: Los Angelos Kings, Toronto Maple Leafs, Philadelphia Flyers, Calgary Flames,Atlanta Thrashers, and Boston Bruins all following this new formula in the NHL this year... Its hard to say just which team will be the big winner for worst to first. It wouldn't be surprising if Tampa Bay still was not the biggest "turn-around" team this year. With its #1 drafty choice and big signings, it looks as though they have quite the team. But that anchor on defense is still missing. Defense is the new Corner Stone of the NHL. (part from the important goalie)